Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dogtooth Dash Race Report

For the 3rd season in a row, the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Championship was at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden. As racers, we are always really excited to finish the season with the best event in our calendar.

There are many reasons why this event is so special to us. First, the course is always quite challenging and takes the racers all around the resort. Second, it always seems to be in great snow condition and on a clear nice day. Third of all, this is a really spectator friendly event so there is a lot of cheering happening and also the event is very well organized. Put all those elements together and you can’t really go wrong in creating a successful event. Oh and I almost forgot, the prizes for all categories are all really sweet and the “Gala” at the eagle eye restaurant after the race is simple amazing.

New this Season at KHMR,

T2 Ridge, our second last climb and Descent

A few things were a bit different this year with a full weekend of action. On Saturday march 26th was the individual race where athlete could pick between 2 categories, the Enduro (4000 ft of climbing) or the Elite (close to 6000ft of climbing). At noon, and as per the traditions, we ran around the Eagle eye restaurant, skis in hand and transitioned to descent mode at the start line. From there, a quick skate and descent brought us to the bottom of our first climb under the “Staiway to Heaven Chair”. We then climbed up to the ridge and dropped in Feuz Bowl for the 2nd climb. The snow was really

nice and powdery with 9 cm of fresh overnight! A quick descent brought us to a longer climb up Crystal Bowl, which included a bootpack with a fix rope. That climb brought us back to the eagle eye restaurant and the start/ finish area but the race was just getting interesting from there!!! We then dropped down into Bowl Over for a nice walk up a nice lower angle track with steep switchback near the headwall. Halfway in, there was another bootback which took the racers all the way to the top of Terminator Ridge. From there, we skied a new section of terrain for KHMR this season to the moraine and then climbed back up steep switchbacks and up onto the T2 ridge. From there, we skied back down and around to the same point where we skied before in Bowl Over and climbed the same headwall to sprint along the ridge and gain the finish line. 4 Bootpacks, exciting ridge walks, technical switchbacks, this is what I call a “Euro Like Race”!

One of the 4 Bootpack of the Course

I think it’s fair to say that everyone had a great time and people were giving it all on the course all the way to the end. There was bindings broken, people falling, skins ripping, water bottle falling… all sorts of things happening on course. Freshly back from Europe, Reiner Thoni had a great race from the start and crossed the finish line first. Andrew McNab was not far behind with a great second place. Ian Gale was the 3rd male to cross the finish line. As for the ladies go, I came in just after Andrew, Julie was 2nd women to cross the finish with Billie in 3rd place.

For full results: http://goldenskimo.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dogtooth_dash_2011_final_day1.pdf

Congratulations to all the racers and specially our new juniors in the circuit, Dominic Unterberger and Kirill Dubrovsky for a 1st and 2nd place. On the Sunday, march 27th was the relay race which was a Euro like team event. Teams of 2 and 4 toured around a set course of 400ft of vertical gain and lost. Each team had to go around the course 4 times. This was an other spectator friendly event with all the action taking place on Stairway to Heaven side of CPR Ridge. We all had a great time racing this really friendly event. Thx to KHMR, Ian Gale and the volunteers!

Next and last stop of the season will be at Lake Louise this weekend with a new event to our calendar. It should be a lot of fun!!!

Podium Picture from:


Friday, March 25, 2011

Winner of the G3 Ski Graphic Contest

Look for these skis on the slopes next season!

This is a report from :http://www.genuineguidegear.com/life/blog/daves/and-thats-wrap

This year, G3's Skigraphiks contest drew the most interest ever - nearly 250 entries. If you're somehow not familiar, being on this site and all, the annual competition encourages the public to submit their designs with the winners reproduced on limited-edition G3 skis. Amongst those high stakes, and after choosing four other individual segment winners, G3 this week chose 'Bonsai Landscape’ by Patrik Johansson the 2010/2011 Grand Prize winner. We asked Patrik about his design, which is shown here:

“With the winning design I really wanted to visualize the name of the ski – ZenOxide. So I did some research about old Japanese art pieces and calligraphic work. There are a few elements that are constantly appearing in Japanese Zen Art: bonsai trees, the Zen circle and calligraphic characters. So I decided to take those elements and create a ski design out of it. It’s as simple as that.” G3 head ski tester Oliver Steffen said the graphic dovetailed incredibly well with the design of the ZenOxide ski. “The art Patrik produced best embodied the vision that the G3 staff had for the ZenOxide model/brand. It was pretty amazing to us since the graphic easily satisfied the design brief that we gave our own graphic designers for the 2011-12 ski graphic – sophisticated yet relaxed with a strong and notable design element. Patrik’s design is a natural progression of the best ZenOxide graphics of the past and could easily fit into G3’s ski line.”

For his winning design, Johansson, who lives in Sweden and has spent seasons ski-bumming in Chamonix, Val D’Isere and Val Thorens, takes home a pair of custom ‘Bonsai Landscape’ ZenOxide skis, Onyx alpine-touring bindings, a Speed Pro Tech probe, an Avitech shovel and Alpinist skins. Throughout the SkiGraphiks contest, the four individual segment winners over the winter were chosen by a combination of public votes, along with input from G3 staff and retail partners who would sell the winning limited-edition skis. The Grand Prize winner was chosen by G3 staff. And that's a wrap for Skigraphiks this year, start looking forward to next!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dogtooth Dash COMING UP!!!!

This coming weekend will be the best event in our Canadian Ski Mo circuit in Golden, BC. For the 3rd year, Kicking Horse is hosting a really nice and challenging course covering pretty much their whole skiable terrain!
This year, there are 3 race formats for the individual race of the saturday. On the sunday will be a fun and friendly relay race. Come out and play, or come cheer as this is a really spectators friendly event.
In addition to amazing prices and probably a bit of suffering, this event promise to be a lot of fun!
For more details:


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

1St World Cup Experience

The last Sunday was the 4th edition of the Marmotta Trophy in Martell Italy and for the first time, the event was part of the World Cup Series. It sure was a beautiful day out there, ideal for a race actually.We woke up really early in order to get ready for our 1st World Cup event. As the sun was slowly rising over the impressive peaks of Martell, we made our way up the narrow and twisty road to get to the end of the valley where the start/finish area, which was actually near Hotel Paradiso, an abandon establishment from the 1900’s. There was different categories forthe event. The ISMF (World Cup) women, junior and cadets were the first to ski the course with a challenging 1362m of positive gain, followed 30 minutes later by the ISMF senior men. Then all the other athletes (from different European Ski Associations) lined up at the start only 5 minutes after the ISMF athletes.The course was really fun, one of the nicest events we raced in I would say. The first ascent was steady through the trees for it’s first section but was quickly opening up to

great alpine bowls since we started at 1770m of elevation. The climb brought us up 500m higher where we transitioned for our first descent down a nice wide gully feature. Then skins back on for about 100m and bootpack with fix rope for about 200m. The rest of the 450m climb was done on icy steep switchbacks to finish on a nice knoll under the sun. A quick ski down a rocky corridor brought us to our 3rd transition where we traversed a flatter meadow section. This is where the men took a different route to add close to 400m of climbing to their course… looking up at the terrain, they had to climb at least 40 switchbacks in order to get to the top and then ski down a narrow passage through the rocks, contour just above the Marteller Hutte where we previously stayed and gain the junction to come back on the women course. From there, a bit of technical skinning and some kick glide traversing brought the athletes to the 2nd boot pack up a nice long couloir. We thought at first that crampons would be required for this section but at our greatest surprise, they were not necessary. From the top, a quick skin brought us to the highest section of the race just below 3000m of elevation. It was then skins off for an amazing 815m of descent. The first section of descent was fairly flat and somewhat bumpy but the middle

section was where the fun was! We had to ski as fast as we could down a narrow couloir to end up in an open meadow, back down in the trees for some fast out of control turns and then, to add to the race, we had to put our skins back on for an additional 15m of sprinting to the finish line.On the men side, Reiner had a great performance taking the 18th place followed minutes later by Andrew who took the 24th place. James also had a solid race taking the 26th place. The race went well on my side even if affected a bit by the elevation and the end of a sinus flue. I still had a great time. It was an amazing experience to line up once again with the fastest women in the sport. It truly is motivating and inspiring to ski along them. I took the 9th place just behind Veronica from Austria… we battled till the end but I dropped my ski at the last transition trying to put my skins on as fast as I could… it was funny we hugged and laughed at the finish line! We all had big smiles on our face after the race as we drove down to one of the restaurant to have our post race meal… yes of course pasta again!!! We wondered back to the race for the award ceremony and catch a bit of sun before taking the road back to Landeck, Austria.
Great food and a night of rest later, we drove back down to Venice for the last leg of our trip. We cleaned our little Panda car and left it behind to catch a bit of the Venice Carnaval action. First thing we knew, we were in the air, direction Canada. It sure was a great month full of excitement and emotions. We all learnt a lot once again and we take great memories back with us.

A week in Val Martello

Soon after the world championships, we packed our multiple bags as well as we could in our very small rental car (Fiat Panda) and drove towards our next stop: Val Martello. A drive through Cortina, the “Whistler of the Dolomites” was necessary while making our way to our next destination. The area being really thinly covered by snow this year, we only stopped for lunch and for some really entertaining people (and pet) watching…also still recovering from a week of events, we stopped in Merano for a rejuvenating water therapy session. Relaxed but still tired, we made it to Martello where really comfy beds and amazing hospitality was awaiting.

We woke up to snow the following day. We slowly prepared our bags for our hut trip, waiting for our 4th friend to complete our happy group. As we took the twisty narrow road to get to the end of the valley, it was really clear that the “Panda” would not like the winter conditions. Chains on, we finally made it to the trail head where we found out that the cable cart that was going to carry our multi-day bags up to the hut was not working for the day and we would have to carry everything we needed with us. Reiner was going to bring his roller travel bag and we had pretty generous backpacks. No need to say that we revisited our packs and then undertook the 600m ascent to the hut in a whiteout.

The hut was amazing, big enough to accommodate 50 guests at the time, with 2 fulltime cooks getting dinner feasts together and light breakfasts. We did not sleep very well in our bunk-beds the first night but waking up to Italian powder and a blue bird skies made up for the lack of sleep. We were really glad to see James coming up to the hut early morning after having his own adventure trying to make his way to the hut the previous day. Our group completed, we were ready to start exploring the area.

We climbed a fairly flat glacier and got to one of the lower summits of the area. The bigger objectives were gettng hammered by strong wind, so we decided to take it easy. To our greatest surprise, there was an other really large hotel as we got to 3200m ?!? They are just about everywhere. We skied back down to the hut fairly early and enjoyed a siestas & cappuccinos.

The following day, the sun was shining again and the winds finally calmed down. We decided that it was prime time for some glacier walking and peak bagging. Funny enough, it seemed like pretty much everyone in the hut had a similar objective in mind and multiple groups ended up in the same area (through different routes). It was then a race to the summits! We walked cautiously on the glacier and the gained the ridge for a long bootpack to finally stand on the 3767m high Zuflaspitze . We quickly realized that you can’t really go to the top of this mountain without visiting its closest neighbor, the Cevedale which only required an additional 20 minutes walk on a dodgy glacier. After a long ski day, we all decided that the comfort of the “ Bengfrieden Hotel” the amazing hotel where we spent the first night was what we needed to fully recover before the next race. A full rest day later, fresh snow covered the entire valley and brought amazing condition for our course inspection on Friday. By then, familiar faces from the World Championships started to appear in projection of the upcoming Sunday event. We definitively treated ourselves during the days before the race (Physio therme, saunas, steams, hot tub, amazing food), for the first time in the trip, this really felt like a vacation. Then the day of the race came and it was really one of a kind event.

Race report to follow!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

World Championship Report

It sure was a week full of great emotions here in Italy. After the sprint race of Wednesday was one of our favorite event of all, the individual race. This is where the stronger racers of each country battle over a course of around 1300m of vertical gain for the women and 1500m for the men. The race usually starts with a longer first climb and has at least 3 descents and a bootpack section. Well this race was no exception. We woke up on Thursday to perfect weather for our individual race. We warmed up going to the start line skinning about 300m…then we all warmed up to a faster pace, trying to focus on the job ahead and not get intimidated by one another. The men started at 10am and right from the beginning, carbon poles were braking, bindings were exploding, bodies were stumped over…it was war!!! Then, 10 minutes later the ladies took position on the start line. We had to go up on a logging road for about 200m before merging in the forest on a double track, which finally broke in the open where a crowd was awaiting cheering with large cowbells at the first transition point. A quick 100m descent/skate took us to the second transition. From there, a steeper climb with switchbacks took us to flatter terrain. We then gained the alpine and traversed a meadow. We could see the transition point from afar but it just seemed at that point in time that it kept on being further and further away… At that point, team Canada supporters were really encouraging and helped keeping the focus. A nice descent in the meadows and bumps took us to the 3rd transition point. From there, 130 m of climbing took us to the bootpack section and ridge walk, We then had to down climb a ladder attached on a fix rope and ran for a while in deep facet. We put the skis back on of another 190m of climbing… wow, that section felt long. The men kept going for an extra 100m to the top of the ridge as the women course turned around just before an additional bootpack. The last descent was a pure blast. We were zigzagging in thetrees, moguls, sharp corners. We then met with a long logging road that was just line a bobsled track…. SO FAST and so narrow!!!

Our Nation was well represented with Reiner taking the 30th place, then Andrew right at his tale was 36th. Then James and Alex finished 59th and 60th respectively. On the ladies side, the race was close till the end as I managed to pass an Austrian girl on the skating part just before the finish line to end up in 10th position. As for Julie, she took the 24th place. Big congrats to Janelle from the USA who had a great race finishing in 9th place.

Following the individual was the relay race. We unfortunately did not compete in the race since we needed a 3rd woman. The men (Reiner, Andrew, Stano and James) did very well with an 11th place. The battle was hard with a really fast field. It was amazing to watch! We took a day to catch up on some sleep and relax a bit then took the rode to Martello, a beautiful valley in Italy close to the Austrian border. We have been enjoying some of the culture while spending 2 day in an alpine hut at 2610m and climbing up the local peaks.


We are resting before the next event, the Marmotta Trophy this coming Sunday!